VAC and LS Eco Want to Produce Neodymium Magnets Together

VAC and LS Eco Want to Produce Neodymium Magnets Together
VAC and LS Eco Want to Produce Neodymium Magnets Together

The joint venture will produce 1,000 tonnes of neodymium annually for car manufacturers worldwide, enough for around 500,000 electric cars. It is still unclear where the factory will be built and what share the founding companies will hold in the joint venture.

Demand for neodymium is increasing, with the electric vehicle sector being the driving force. By 2030, demand could reach 400,000 tons per year. It is currently 150,000 tonnes per year. Rare earths are needed, among other things, for the magnets that form the heart of electric motors. In these motors, an electrical coil creates a magnetic field that acts against powerful magnets to produce the torque that drives the vehicle’s wheels.

According to media reports, most of the current demand is met by companies producing in China, as only ten factories outside the country produce permanent magnets. The companies mentioned above want to change that.

“Based on LS Cable & Systems’ non-ferrous metal processing technology, we plan to build a rare earth magnet value chain with partner companies,” said Lee Sang-ho, CEO of LS Eco Advanced Material. The company is also exploring building a plant in Vietnam to produce rare earth metals.

LS Eco Advanced Material is a subsidiary of South Korea’s largest cable company LS Cable & System, which also produces copper wires for the motors of Korean brands Hyundai and Kia electric cars. VAC has expanded in recent years and is also building a factory with General Motors in the US to produce rare earth magnets. Production there is scheduled to start next year.

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The permanent magnets will be used in a number of GM electric vehicles. Specifically, it’s about the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV, the Cadillac Lyriq as well as the GMC Sierra EV and Hummer EV models in the pickup and SUV versions – i.e. almost all of the Ultium models presented so far.


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